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tv   BBC Newsnight  PBS  July 21, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EDT

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♪ >> this is "bbc newsnight." funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. shell. and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to understand the industry you operate in. working to nurture new ventures and help provide capital for key strategic decisions. we offer expertise and tailored solutions in a wide range of industries. what can we do for you?
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>> at shell, we believe the world needs a broader mix of energies. that is why we are supplying cleaner-burning natural gas to generate electricity. and it is also why, with our partner in brazil, shell is producing ethanol, a biofuel made from renewable sugar cane. energyroaden the world's mix, let's go. >> on the edge of starvation. how the children of have become the victims of a growing food crisis -- how the children of yemen have become victims. >> this week, we hear from yemen, a country where many are not too poor to afford even basic food stuffs. >> [inaudible] do not have enough food in their
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homes to keep their children healthy. in some cases, to keep kids like this alive. >> and a return to africa. former president bill clinton speaks to us exclusively on his campaign for that continent's victims of hiv/aids, and how new drug could change that struggle. >> the numbering is the best thing ever is staggering. it could reduce the likelihood of new infections by 75%. >> hello. there is the beginnings of another humanitarian catastrophe. one of the country's touched by the arab spring. for some 80 months, yemen has been wracked by political turmoil. now millions are going hungry and worse. according to the united nations, nearly half of the population, or 10 million people, have limited or no access to sufficient food. 47% of children under 5 years old are chronically malnourished. the worst affected areas are in
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the west of the country surrounding the capital sanaa. jeremy cooke has this exclusive report. >> the face of a crisis. ashmial is barely clinging to consciousness, barely clinging to life. a 1-year-old who weighs as much as a newborn baby. you do not need a scale to know that this child needs help now. like so many young victims of yemen's hunger epidemic, his health is failing. he is being rushed to the ward. he is struggling to breathe, his body weakened by chronic malnutrition. >> there are a lot of cases, a lot of cases. yes, they really are in danger of dying. >> in the next bed, another of
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the quarter of a million kids in yemen who are now so malnourished that they could die. and so we head out the door country which has a long history of poverty and hardship. but what is happening today away from the eyes of the outside world is something different. in this remote village, the evidence is obvious. [baby cries] unmistakable. and as always, the very young guest in this tiny community are the most vulnerable, the most at risk. for jamila, watching her eight- month old sufferer is agony. >> i am really scared.
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i would die if he dies. i am sick with worry. it makes me so sad to see my son in pain. >> he is typical of that so many of the kids we have been seeing. there is absolutely no body fat on him at all. they do not have enough food in their homes to keep their children healthy. in some cases, to keep kids like the bill up alive. -- to keep kids like this alive. >> the go to visit his family, and it is clear that they are dirt poor. is it ok to come in sight? [baby cries] >> this is a place where six people live and where two children have already died of malnutrition.
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across generations, hunger is now part of what passes for daily life. >> it denied the look and there's no food, what can they do? -- if tonight there is no food, what can they do? >> weasley and we pray. what else can we do? -- we sleep and we pray. what else can we do? so we sleep. chris on the edge of the village, the graves of the boy's brother and sister. just a few rocks. soon it will be hard to tell there is anything here at all. but there will be margraves in villages across yemen. that is what these mothers are desperate to prevent. that is why they crowd into the sweltering, chaotic district hospitals looking for food, looking for madison -- medicine. in a country where poverty is regarded as shameful, women are
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withdrawn, but the mothers here are holding up for their mac headed babies. this may not look like the classic image of the family we see from sub-saharan africa. but what better illustration that there is hunger here and now in this country? >> there is some help here, but not enough. last week, supplies of special baby food ran out. there was no money for fuel to pick up more. the aid operation such as it is is running on empty. >> you are a doctor. it is your job to look after children. does this make you sad? does this make you angry? >> really sad and angry. i never imagined we would face a crisis like this, and it is only getting worse. >> why does it make you angry? >> because we cannot help all of
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them. what we can do is really limited. we cannot reach the poor people. we do not have the support. it makes us sad and ashamed. >> what is hard to deal with here is that just down the road from the hospital, there is food. the prices of gone through the roof and still rising. the poor simply cannot afford it. imagine having to walk past all of this while your child is at home desperately hungry. ask anyone here, old or young, what is driving the hunter, and it will tell you, it is poverty. for some, this is a solution of sorts. oxfam has a program of cash handouts. the heat may be off the scale. you may have to wait in line for
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hours. but there's not much else to do for farm workers when crops have failed. >> if you do not get this money, is there any other way of getting in gum or of getting money? >> no. if there is rain, we can work. otherwise, there is no work. >> for so many, this is the last, the only option. and the rains have not come. april's harvest was a disaster. that was a severe limit on yemen's capacity for self help. it is also true that not -- not all of the productive land in this impoverished country is used to produce food. instead, they choose to grow this stuff, a mildly narcotic leaf that this chewed daily by almost every adult male in yemen.
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>> the whole thing like that? break it? [applause] >> along with islam, it is at the center of the culture. millions of bags of it are sold every day. ahmed is a huge fan of it and says he spends more money on it than food. is your wife ok with this? >> she chews, too, he tells me. they say it is a way of life. that is an understatement. amid the hunger and desperation, everyone here is still chewing. some things here then remain constant, but these are also times up of people, turmoil, and change. the yemeni arab spring delivered
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the first new president in more than three decades. it was hardly a revelation and hardly a happy ending. hunger levels may have doubled, but the new government is more concerned with al qaeda. [gunfire] >> the battle is on. these troops training to take on the islamist militants, many of whom are foreign fighters arriving in yemen after being driven out of other former strongholds. waging war like this cost big money. the new recruits are part of the military bolstered by american funding and training, but the money spent on it this will mean there is less to help tackle
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chronic malnutrition. military commanders insist there is no choice. >> we have to focus all our efforts on safety and security in yemen because that will solve the economic problems. we do not secure the country, nothing will improve, and the suffering and starvation will get worse. >> security first. >> which leaves the hungry still hungry. and with hardly any good news on the horizon. the next harvest is months away. the international aid agencies are struggling to raise funds. and in the middle of it all, ashmial. for him, help cannot arrive soon enough. >> if he lives, he lives. if he dies, what can i do?
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i tried my best. i have done everything i can for him. i cannot afford to do more. now is in the hands of god. >> jeremy cooke reporting from yemen. once a relatively young world leader leaves office, there is suddenly an opportunity to do things which might have been impossible, unwise, article. it is with bill clinton who has devoted a considerable slice of his time to charitable causes in africa. he has been in south africa this week and agreed to a wide- ranging exclusive interview. >> first as president and an ex- president, bill clinton and nelson mandela have developed a close relationship over the past 20 years. the two meeting on mr. clinton's regular visit to south africa. most recently on nelson mandela's 94th birthday. africa has been the focus of much of bill clinton goes to
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work since leaving the white house in 2001, particularly the fight against hiv-aids. on monday, president clinton visited a health clinic in mozambique, partly funded by his clinton foundation. the work their offers one of the first early tests using technology that gives a judge be results in less than an hour. >> i want you to help us totally eliminate the transmission of hiv. >> clinton's health access initiative, which works across the continent, has also helped to reduce the cost of drugs by up to 90%. the clinton foundations ambitions extend beyond health care to climate change and removing barriers to economic development. mr. clinton cut the ribbon on a new library in a south african village. it is nelson mandela's ancestral village. on his birthday, it was not the former u.s. president who was
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the star of the show. >> you have just met nelson mandela and he is celebrating his 94th birthday. we do not often see him in public. how is his health? >> he seemed quite healthy to me. he actually has gained some weight. he looked stronger. his color was better than it was two years ago when i came for the world cup. i felt good about that. you know, he is 94. he is not here as well as he used to. it is not see as well as he used to. he does not move as much as he used to move. but i had a nice visit with him. it is very happy in his native village. i think being there with his wife, having more time to himself, means a great deal to him. but he did say how moved he was by the way his birthday is being celebrated today in south ever cut with the 67 minutes of service -- in south africa, with the 67 minutes of service by every citizen in the country. i told them it is being
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celebrated all over the world. celebrations in the u.k., the u.s., and elsewhere. >> you and tony blair have been devoting a lot of time to africa. is it easier to do that as an ex-leader? >> well, i actually spent an enormous amount of time on africa when i was president, and we adopted the african growth and opportunity act. we had lots of efforts to bring africa into american decision making. i took the longest trip on the continent in the president had ever taken. but what is easier when you get out is you do not have to worry about logistics so much. and if you're working, as i am, on economic development, on agricultural development, on malaria, climate change, you can actually go to the sites and get into the details of what you're doing. that is fun for me. i like doing that. i do not have the opportunity to do that when i was president, and i like this. >> how much of the problems in
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africa that you encounter are man-made, rooted in bad governance in sudan, mali, or zimbabwe? that is very frustrating because sometimes you have to turn a blind eye to what people are up to because you have to work with the government. >> in places where the government is bad and/or corrupt, we still provide aids medicine at the world's lowest prices if they need that and technology. sometimes we trained personnel. but, by and large, we only work on an ongoing basis in places where the government asks us, and we do have a strict no- corruption pledged governing our own activity. one of the things that i hope to do when i started this effort, not just in africa but throughout the world, is to build the capacity of governments to function well, particularly in the health-care area. i find that as capacity goes up,
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corruption tends to go down. >> the hiv prevention drug is now been approved in the u.s. do you think it is some kind of breakthrough point in the prevention of hiv with profound implications for africa? >> well, i hope so, but i still believe, because truvada is a new drug and will be more costly, there're two things we have to do. first of all, in the developing world, we have to continue to work on more cost-effective strategies. we know, for example, , male circumcision reduces the likelihood of infection in males by 60%. it is a one-time operation that will be less expensive than a lifetime regime of truvada. even in the u.s., we have some discreet populations were the infection rate is going up again, and we do not want to take a relatively expensive response and, in the process,
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perhaps discourage people from using preventive measures that have already begun to kind of lose their grip in places where people do not worry about infections anymore. i think it is a very, very important thing. if we can keep working to make the medication more affordable committed the volume is up from the kennedy huge difference. the number is staggering. they say that the findings of research are that it can reduce the likelihood of new infections by 75%. but we still have to figure out how to pay for it, how to distribute it, and how to avoid having people think they do not need to take preventive measures any more that are more basic and less expensive. >> can we turn to a wider world role here? when your president, it was possible to lead the intervention in yugoslavia. after afghanistan and iraq, do think people back home do not want to intervene, not just in africa but also in places like syria, for example, where we see
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a humanitarian crisis where intervention is extremely difficult? >> these circumstances are different. we had a very long involvement in two wars simultaneously that was highly costly and lies -- in lives and injuries and in national treasure. we also have, in syria, a difficult situation for two reasons. first of all, it has one of the largest military is in the world. it has massive air defense systems which are complicating any efforts to have a no-fly zone. and, frankly, it is a problematic thing because of the uncertainty about what happens. but i think the united states and its european allies are continuing to pressure -- press the russians and chinese to drop their efforts against more aggressive action, and that is
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the right thing. i think the encouragement being given to the rebels and the fact that there is some headway now being made by the rebel fighters is important. it is a difficult thing, and i sympathize with the leaders because no one likes seeing the syrian government kill all these people, but we do not want to bring in the international community in a way that would lead, let's say, to bombing of air defense systems which would kill a lot more citizens. i think we have seen all over the middle east that the internally-generated efforts and regime change, even if they're supported by those of us on the outside, are more likely to be lasting and have a positive impact. i am quite hopeful about the libyan elections, for example, and the fact that they may have an inclusive society that recognizes that the democracies more than winning an election. it is also minority rights and purges addition of all sectors of society in the life of the country. >> much of what we have been talking about here is the rich
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helping the poor. turning to your own election, are the interests of the rich and the board of very different, at least as phrased by governor mitt romney and president obama? >> battle lines have been drawn because the republican -- at least i believe, because the republican party and the congress and the nominee for president say the most important thing is to have further tax cuts on the wealthiest americans even if it increases the debt, and uighur regulations, which is what led to the financial meltdown in america -- and financial regulations. that is highlighting these differences. >> as you know, governor romney's people say his role as a successful businessman means he is exactly the kind of person to lead the u.s. in a time of economic difficulty. the other view is that his role at bain capital and failure to produce tax returns might
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disqualify him. what are your thoughts? >> well, i am supporting president obama so you know what my thoughts are. i think that everything about a person's record is relevant to service as president. what is the job of the next president? the job of the next president is to accelerate the recovery, get us back to full employment, get income growth growing in america again. and fully implement the health care law so we bring our costs down, in line with our competitors, as well as increase coverage. create a new energy economy that will generate millions of jobs. i think if you look at their positions on the issues and the actions they have taken previously, president obama is much more likely to produce those results than governor romney is. that is what i think the focus should be on. who is more likely to bring us back to full employment and to broaden its prosperity?
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in general, the you believe we have to grow together and that government has a role to play in that or should we weaken government, pretend it is the enemy, and say you're on your own? the latter is the philosophy of the modern republican party. the former is the philosophy of president obama and the people who supported. i think he is right. >> looking back at your own time in office, the you have any regrets about the regulation of the banks, about big banks getting too close to people in government? is there anything you think you could have done that might have helped control the problems before they develop? >> i do wish i had at least great more public outcry about the rising problem of the derivatives. because when i left office, it was about a $100 trillion market around the world. when it collapsed, it was about $700 trillion. and i regret that i did not do more to at least tried to put that issue front and center. it might have at least caused
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more cautionary behavior on the part of the people engaged in that. as to whether the banks themselves in america have grown too large, too big to fail, i still cannot have a bit -- an opinion on that. maybe i do not know enough. but it seems to me that if you have appropriate oversight of financial, commercial, an investment banking and you require capital reserves sufficient to cover risks, then you are better off. if you look at canada, for example, they did not have financial collapse, and they had unified investment banks, commercial banks under one roof. same thing is true in germany. if you look at what happened in the u.k. and ireland with the housing double, it was just an old-fashioned case of too little oversight. there was not enough capital reserves for the risks that were taken. so i think that was the primary
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cause of it, but i do wish i would have raised more hell about the derivatives. >> a final thought. as you know, the election of the first african-american president leaves people wondering when the u.s. will have its first woman president and wondering whether there might be room for another clinton in the white house and whether you're open to the idea of hillary clinton running herself in 2016. "she says she intends to retire from public life and work with me in our non-governmental organizations. i am open to hurdling whatever swanston do. i think she is the most able person i have ever known or worked with. -- i am open to her for doing whatever she wants to do. if you look at the support she has received from the american people, they feel that way. that is a long way away. you know, we're not kids anymore. there are a lot of people who want to be president, and a lot of things can happen between now and then. let's see what happens.
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i am more worried about trying to reelect president obama right now. >> bill clinton. and that is all for this week. from all of us, goodbye. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. union bank. and shell. >> at union bank, our >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard
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